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Modes of communication in a busy world
Technology is wonderful -- it allows us to communicate with others in all sorts of different ways.
However, sometimes the way we or others choose is not the most appropriate for the recipient or the message. We are all incredibly busy, after all.
So here's my quick'n'dirty philosophy for how I communicate with others in business, in descending order of use and ascending order of priority or urgency. Please feel free to adapt or ridicule it at your leisure...
Used for transferring files before a face-to-face meeting. For example, I want my client to see the latest additions to the manual we're working on, or changes to a newsletter.
It's also great for non-urgent communication, as it allows the recipient to get on with the work that is currently occupying them without disturbing them. If I phone them, I break their train of thought and interrupt their work. Or I get frustrated because 'they are in a meeting'. It's a great way of allowing them to attend to my email and its demands at a more suitable and convenient time.
Using email is a great way of neither interrupting my recipient nor getting into that horribly wasteful game of 'phone tag'.
Yes, there is the risk that my email gets lost in the dozens my recipient might get in a day, but I figure that if our work is important they will pay attention to it. If it's not important to them, then either their own boss or client will help them reprioritise when an important deadline is missed, or else I am focusing more on my own needs than the needs of my recipient -- in which case I deserve to have my email ignored.
Of course, spam filtering software is not perfect and sometimes emails genuinely don't get through, but in genuine business relationships such instances are rare. There are exceptions, of course -- one of my clients *never* gets my emailed invoices, even when I send them back via 'reply' to an email they send me. But she gets every other email I send. And yes, I *do* track those errant emails via delivery and read receipts. Bizarre, huh?
If you find that you are having repeated problems with undelivered emails and 'blacklisting', you may want to take advantage of Ken Evoy's "Deliver My Mail" campaign. Details are at http://deliver-my-mail.sitesell.com/hsis.html.
Similar to email, but slightly more intrusive (because many of us find it hard to ignore our mobile phones, even if it is just a txt message coming in). I don't want to interrupt my recipient, but I do want them to be aware of an upcoming requirement or request. Or I just want to wish them 'bon voyage' without interrupting them from packing.
3. Phone call
Only used if I have an urgent need to resolve an issue.
I have found that even highly personal matters can be first discussed using non-intrusive technology like email. I don't have to go into detail, but I can let my recipient know that there is something I would like to discuss when they have a free moment. It gives them a chance to collect their thoughts before we talk over the phone or, preferably, in person.
Reports I have written:
Measuring the impact and ROI of social media - for Ark Group
Making Social Media work for your business - for Ark Group
Social Media: The New Business Communication Landscape - for Ark Group
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation - for Melcrum Publishing
Contributing author to How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues - for Melcrum Publishing
Contributing author to How to communicate with hard-to-reach employees - for Melcrum Publishing
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View many of the presentations I have given over at Slideshare
Why does employee communication matter?
Download a presentation I gave to a group of PR students on slideshare
For your consideration:
Writing for a web audience